The enthusiasm for amateur photography which swept Europe in the late 19th century touched more than one member of the Rothschild family, but none more so than Julie (1830-1907) in Paris who, in 1894, took the new art seriously enough to build a studio and darkroom onto her house at 47 rue de Monceau.
Nathaniel Mayer von Rothschild (1836-1905), on his journey through southern Europe, the Levant and North Africa at the turn of the century travelled with a heavy, large-plate camera and published a number of his fine landscape and genre studies in 1901 as Reise Erinnerungen.
In the years leading up to the First World War, the young Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942) developed a keen interest in photography, particularly the autochrome, a early form of colour photography. Portraits, still lives and landscapes- particularly of the gardens at Gunnersbury and Ascott - all survive. Comprising photograph albums, loose prints, and glass plates the images show countries he visited while on holiday, such as Denmark, Egypt, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia. The subjects of his photography include his yacht the Rhodora, views of gardens showing plants and flowers, views of towns and buildings, landscapes, bird nests, a bull fight, portraits of family and friends, and scenes that inspired Lionel. The camera equipment he used has survived and includes three cameras made by Newman Guardia Ltd with their respective holders and cases. Read more about The Rothschild autochromes here »
Lionel's grandson and namesake Lionel de Rothschild (b.1955) is also an enthusiastic and proficient photographer, combining his love of gardening in the illustrations to The Rothschild Gardens, published in 1996.